Liam Neeson's Nephew Suffers Critical Head Injury

Tragedy ensued today when, after a night out with friends, Liam Neeson’s nephew climbed onto the top of a telephone box on a seafront promenade in Brighton and fell, sadly suffering a serious head injury. He is said to be in a critical condition. The family will undoubtedly face all of the same worries and issues that many employees who fall at work will also face. The phrase “compensation culture” is banded around, with little understanding of the devastating effect an accident of this severity will have on the individual and their family, and the long rehabilitation route that ultimately follows.

Workplace falls from height are notoriously dangerous, and the consequences of a bad health and safety decision can be devastating or indeed fatal. Which is why it is so important to have health and safety legislation in place to protect the employee. In cases where health and safety has not been followed causing injury a claim can be brought to seek compensation for injury, loss of wages, care and rehabilitation etc, which is extensively and desperately required in these severe cases. The law has however changed, the new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform act came into force on 13 October, means accidents traditionally brought under 1992 regulations (which were as a result of the UK bringing it’s domestic law into compliance with the European directives, and meant breaches of the regulations could be relied upon to bring a civil claim), has now been overturned.

This means:-

  • Claimants can no longer rely on a breach of those regulations to bring a claim.
  • Instead their claims will be based on negligence and a breach of the common law duty of care.
  • Most importantly the burden of proof will be on the claimant, which is why it is so important to get specialist legal advice and expert evidence  if a case is to succeed.

Overall the reform will assist in removing the concept of strict liability for employers, in situation where they have no knowledge of a defect, but cases will now need to be investigated more thoroughly to prove that the employer is at fault, if the injury person is to receive the correct amount of damages to ensure that devastated lives can be rebuilt.